Why you should start exploring MS Teams Rooms as we emerge from lockdown
Throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, Microsoft Teams has become omnipresent in our professional - and for many of us, personal - lives. But with the opening up of our offices coming progressively closer, and hybrid working now having established itself as most organisations' preferred working model for the 'new norm', we must consider how we can accommodate the needs of both office and remote workers, ensuring they can maintain the same quality of omnichannel interaction, communication, and collaboration that has been cultivated throughout the pandemic.
Let us consider meetings. At this point, most of us are comfortable with meetings taking place via Teams, utilising the numerous tools it offers to streamline remote collaboration. But at the same time, it is difficult to replicate the energy of a physical meeting room - something many of us have missed throughout lockdown. So, when we anticipate the workforce being split between home and the office the majority of the time, how do we ensure meetings are productive for everyone, without requiring them to arrange to be in the same location each time one is booked?
Enter Microsoft Teams Rooms…
What is a Teams Room?
Teams Rooms are based on centralised hardware installed in a meeting room that allows participants to automatically log into a Teams call via their preferred device and utilise tools such as a virtual whiteboard, screen-casting, live captioning, and a 'raise hand' feature, without the need to manage the whole meeting through a single laptop, as was often the case previously.
When paired with Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams, Rooms bring telephony and video conferencing together, in a single, highly resilient stack, allowing users to book a physical meeting room when they arrange a Teams call, so staff in the office and staff working remotely can seamlessly collaborate and communicate, enjoying the advantages of both on-site meetings and Teams-powered collaboration – something Microsoft refers to as 'hybrid meetings'.
Teams Rooms is already supported by a number of leading vendors, including Lenovo, Poly, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Yealink, and Logitech, who offer hardware with the solution preinstalled, helping to ensure a smooth, efficient deployment process, particularly for organisations already using Office 365. Teams users will already be familiar with the core functionality, and can launch and manage meetings through an elegant touchscreen interface, while IT teams can manage everything through their existing admin panel.
Why organisations should consider adding Teams Rooms to their office space
With the workforce's new 'liquid footprint', it is now near-universally accepted that hybrid working will be the default working model for the majority of organisations, as we emerge from lockdown. While this new model is already demonstrating its full potential, there is still much to do if organisations are to be fully prepared for the 'new normal'. In particular, with the workforce split between the office and remote working, inclusion and engagement will become an ongoing challenge, but by implementing a centralised communications platform that makes the same world-class tools available to both groups, these challenges can be mitigated, and we can focus on developing physical workspaces that are fully optimised for hybrid working.
But what about Teams Collaboration?
This isn't to say Microsoft Teams Collaboration is becoming obsolete. Far from it. Teams Rooms are ideal for larger meetings, allowing them to be conducted in an inclusive and productive manner, regardless of where staff are located, while Team Collaboration still wins out for smaller, less formal meetings and personal communications. This may well change in the future, as Teams continues to evolve, but at the time of writing, the logical answer is to utilise both solutions on an as-needed basis, in order to enjoy their respective advantages.
Helping your customers prepare for the next evolution of the workspace
With the move towards hybrid working showing no signs of slowing down, now is the ideal time for technology providers to add Microsoft Teams Rooms to their service wrap, in order to anticipate their customers' changing requirements. If you're already keen to explore the possibilities of this new solution, contact the Exponential-e Channel Team, who will be more than happy to discuss how we can best support you.